NASA的航天飞船洞察号(InSight)现已飞过距离火星一半的距离。

NASA的航天飞船洞察号(InSight)现已飞过距离火星一半的距离。

洞察号预期在11月26日抵达火星。它被指派揭示火星的地形,去探测它的地壳、地幔和地核的深度。

“我们正在真正地在测量这个星球的深度,试图深入行星内部数以千英里的位置,目的是不仅仅只理解它的地表,而是整个行星。” 洞察号太空飞行任务的首席研究员Bruce Banerdt说道。

洞察号在5月离开地区,携带着一个地震仪,为了去研究火星上地面的震动。这个飞船将要在火星上的埃律西昂平原区域。洞察号太空飞行任务将是探索这颗星球的内部的第一个火星任务。

行星学会汇报道,洞察号太空飞行任务原本是被计划在2016年5月启动的,但是关于地震仪的问题造成了一个拖延。

根据NASA,洞察号代表内部的探索使用着地震的侦探,大地测量学和热量转移。这个太空飞行任务由NASA的喷气推进实验室负责。

洞察号背后的在NASA的团队正在为这个飞船着陆进行准备。团队也激活并监视洞察号中对于航行、着陆、表面操作必要的子系统。根据由NASA开放的一个新闻,这些系统中包括非常敏感的科学的设备。

团队计划去探索为什么火星有那么多山峦。NASA报告称,他们希望侦查这颗行星的气温将给予洞察号什么东西导致了它的火山的组成,比如一个将近是珠穆拉玛峰3倍大小的火山奥林帕斯山。

除了月球之外,火星已经是太阳系中对于太空飞行任务来讲最受欢迎的地点。不过,探索火星中的一半尝试都以失败告终。根据行星协会,从1996年以来的火星太空飞行任务的数据向太空探险者显示:火星比原先相信的更加和地球相像。

科学家们希望他们研究火星能够理解更多关于多岩石的行星是怎样形成的。

水星、金星、地球和火星都拥有一个多岩石的结构。根据NASA,科学家们希望对于火星内部的理解也将帮助他们搞懂太阳系外面的行星。

“我们将要去侦查它的深度,思考出地核有多大、地核由什么构成以及硬层有多大。我们运用着那个信息就将有能力回去检测我们关于火星和地球分别是如何形成的模型。” Banerdt说道。

两个来帮助洞察号将数据传回地球的小型宇航飞船火星一号立方体由洞察号喷射进太空。科学家们希望测试这些微型的交流仪器来帮助增大未来深度火星太空飞行任务的可能性。但是,根据NASA,如果它们不管用,它们将不会影戏洞察号太空飞行任务。

NASA的现在探索火星的漫游者机遇号有一个不确定的未来。Space.com报道说,洞察号正在去火星的路上时,出于一次大型沙尘暴的原因,机遇号的联络在6月10日被切断。机遇号于2004年11月在火星上着陆。

 

NASA Spacecraft More Than Halfway to Mars

BY COLIN FREDERICSON

August 30, 2018 Updated: August 30, 2018   

NASA’s InSight spacecraft is now more than halfway to Mars.

The InSight is expected to touch down on Mars on Nov. 26. It’s set to penetrate the terrain on Mars to probe the depths of its crust, mantle, and core.

“We’re actually measuring the depths of the planet, thousands of miles deep into the planet to understand the entire planet, not just the surface,” said Bruce Banerdt, the principal investigator on the InSight mission.

The InSight departed Earth in May, carrying a seismometer to study ground motions on Mars. The spacecraft is set to land on Mars’s Elysium Planitia region. The InSight mission will be the first Mars mission to explore the interior of the planet.

The InSight mission was originally scheduled to launch in March 2016, but seismometer issues caused a delay, The Planetary Society reported.

InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, according to NASA. The mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The team at NASA behind InSight is preparing for the day the spacecraft lands. The team also monitors and activates InSight subsystems necessary for cruise, landing, and surface operations. These include very sensitive scientific instruments, according to a news release from NASA.

The team plans to explore why Mars has so many mountains. They hope probing the planet’s temperature will give insight into what led to its volcano formations, such as Olympus Mons, a volcano almost three times the size of Mount Everest, NASA reported.

Besides the moon, Mars has been the most popular location for space missions in the solar system. However, half of the attempts to explore Mars failed. Data obtained from Mars missions since 1996 revealed to space explorers that Mars is more like Earth than previously believed, according to The Planetary Society.

Scientists hope that studying Mars, they can understand more about how similar rocky planets formed. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars all have a rocky structure. Scientists hope that understanding the interior of Mars will also help them understand other planets outside our solar system, according to NASA.

“We’re going to probe its depths, figure out how big the core is, what its made out of, how big the crust is and using that information we’re going to be able to go back and test our models of how Mars formed and how the earth formed,” said Banerdt.

Blasting through space behind InSight are two mini spacecraft called Mars Cube One to help InSight communicate data back to Earth. Scientists hope to test the viability of these miniaturized communications devices to help expand the possibilities of future deep space Mars missions. But if they don’t work, they will not affect InSight’s mission, according to NASA.

A NASA rover currently exploring Mars, the Opportunity, has an uncertain future. As InSight was on its way to Mars, Opportunity communications were cut off on June 10 due to a large dust storm, Space.com reported. Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004.

Fox contributed to this report

From NTD Television

NASA的航天飞船洞察号(InSight)现在距离火星比其路程一半还要远。

洞察号预期在11月26日抵达火星。它被指派揭示火星的地形,去探测它的硬层、地幔和地核的深度。

“我们正在真正地在测量这个星球的深度,试图深入行星内部数以千英里的位置,目的是不仅仅只理解它的地表,而是整个行星。” 洞察号太空飞行任务的原理侦察员Bruce Banerdt说道。

洞察号在5月离开地区,携带着一个地震仪,为了去研究火星上地面的震动。这个飞船将要在火星上的埃律西昂平原区域。洞察号太空飞行任务将是探索这颗星球的内部的第一个火星任务。

行星学会汇报道,洞察号太空飞行任务原本是被计划在2016年5月启动的,但是关于地震仪的问题造成了一个拖延。

根据NASA,洞察号代表内部的探索使用着地震的侦探,大地测量学和热量转移。这个太空飞行任务被NASA的喷气推进实验室艰难地完成。

洞察号背后的在NASA的团队正在为这个飞船着陆进行准备。团队也激活并监视洞察号中对于航行、着陆、表面操作必要的子系统。根据由NASA开放的一个新闻,这些系统中包括非常敏感的科学的设备。

团队计划去探索为什么火星有那么多山峦。NASA报告称,他们希望侦查这颗行星的气温将给予洞察号什么东西导致了它的火山的组成,比如一个将近是珠穆拉玛峰3倍大小的火山奥林帕斯山。

除了月球之外,火星已经是太阳系中对于太空飞行任务来讲最受欢迎的位置。不过,探索火星中的一半尝试都以失败告终。从1996年以来的火星太空飞行任务的数据向太空探险者显示,火星比原先相信的更加和地球相像。

科学家们希望他们研究火星能够理解更多关于多岩石的行星是怎样形成的。

水星、金星、地球和火星都拥有一个多岩石的结构。根据NASA,科学家们希望对于火星内部的理解也将帮助他们搞懂太阳系外面的行星。

“我们将要去侦查它的深度,思考出地核有多大、地核由什么构成以及硬层有多大。我们运用着那个信息就将有能力回去检测我们关于火星和地球分别是如何形成的模型。” Banerdt说道。

在洞察号后面进入太空的是两个来帮助洞察号将数据传回地球的小型宇航飞船,叫做火星一号立方体。科学家们希望测试这些微型的交流仪器来帮助增大未来深度火星太空飞行任务的可能性。但是,根据NASA,如果它们不管用,它们将不会影戏洞察号太空飞行任务。

NASA的现在探索火星的漫游者机遇号有一个不确定的未来。Space.com报道说,洞察号正在去火星的路上时,出于一次大型沙尘暴的原因,机遇号的联络在6月10日被切断。机遇号于2004年11月在火星上着陆。

本文出自:

NASA Spacecraft More Than Halfway to Mars

August 30, 2018 Updated: August 31, 2018   

NASA’s InSight spacecraft is now more than halfway to Mars.

The InSight is expected to touch down on Mars on Nov. 26. It’s set to penetrate the terrain on Mars to probe the depths of its crust, mantle, and core.

“We’re actually measuring the depths of the planet, thousands of miles deep into the planet to understand the entire planet, not just the surface,” said Bruce Banerdt, the principal investigator on the InSight mission.

The InSight departed Earth in May, carrying a seismometer to study ground motions on Mars. The spacecraft is set to land on Mars’s Elysium Planitia region. The InSight mission will be the first Mars mission to explore the interior of the planet.

The InSight mission was originally scheduled to launch in March 2016, but seismometer issues caused a delay, The Planetary Society reported.

The team at NASA behind InSight is preparing for the day the spacecraft lands. The team also monitors and activates InSight subsystems necessary for cruise, landing, and surface operations. These include very sensitive scientific instruments, according to a news release from NASA.

The team plans to explore why Mars has so many mountains. They hope probing the planet’s temperature will give insight into what led to its volcano formations, such as Olympus Mons, a volcano almost three times the size of Mount Everest, NASA reported.

Besides the moon, Mars has been the most popular location for space missions in the solar system. However, half of the attempts to explore Mars failed. Data obtained from Mars missions since 1996 revealed to space explorers that Mars is more like Earth than previously believed, according to The Planetary Society.

Scientists hope that studying Mars, they can understand more about how similar rocky planets formed. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars all have a rocky structure. Scientists hope that understanding the interior of Mars will also help them understand other planets outside our solar system, according to NASA.

“We’re going to probe its depths, figure out how big the core is, what its made out of, how big the crust is and using that information we’re going to be able to go back and test our models of how Mars formed and how the earth formed,” said Banerdt.

Blasting through space behind InSight are two mini spacecraft called Mars Cube One to help InSight communicate data back to Earth. Scientists hope to test the viability of these miniaturized communications devices to help expand the possibilities of future deep space Mars missions. But if they don’t work, they will not affect InSight’s mission, according to NASA.

A NASA rover currently exploring Mars, the Opportunity, has an uncertain future. As InSight was on its way to Mars, Opportunity communications were cut off on June 10 due to a large dust storm, Space.com reported. Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004.

Fox contributed to this report

From NTD.tv

在尘埃处在火星上时,机遇号漫游者仍然是失踪的。

这个漫游者在操控者正在准备发起联系时还没有报道。

我们在火星上看到的最大的一次沙尘暴现在正在逐渐结束,给机遇号将快速得到足够的能量去重新开启和地球的正常联系带来了希望。直到这时,自从六月以来,这个漫游者已经失去了联系,控制者也在准备好去尝试使漫游者回复NASA的深空探测网发送的命令。

和更大的好奇号漫游者不同,机遇号是太阳能的。现在的沙尘暴渐渐包围了整个火星的大气层时,为它提供能量的太阳光逐渐变淡。机遇号已经有几个月不能够得到足够的能量去维持在正常的功能,导致它转换到了睡眠的模式。一旦它经历了这次在6月的转换,这个漫游者已经在为了足够去开始和它在地球上的操作人员进行检查了。

基于大气层的状况,那些操作人员预测在不久的未来那个电源很有可能是充足的。可是,看待这个漫游者的情况会有一些无法把握的事情,这意味着它将不会和预期的那样进行联系。最简单的可能是沙尘暴在漫游者的太阳能控制板上沉积了足够的尘埃,使它一直远离充足电量的程度。那能够把它从睡眠的返回推延到最后一颗尘埃离开大气层,或者甚至造成电量停留在低的状态,直到附近的风清理了控制板。

当然,那一切假设每件事情都在正常地运行。机遇号的电量很有可能降得太低了,以至于它主板上的钟表停下来了。如果是那种情况,那么就没有方法去得知这个漫游者什么时候会努力重新连接建立联系。这是操作人员正在准备给它发送命令去建立联系,而不是等待漫游者去检验自己。

在睡眠的过程中,一些电量或联络的硬件设备也有可能出故障了。操作者预测漫游者现在待着的位置会保持足够温暖,能使一些主板上加热器将继续维持部件在被估计的温度或其以上,所以问题基本上是部件是旧的而且它们已经在火星上的14年的条件是艰苦的。

在状况足够好、能使它产生足够的电源后去回应,NASA将持续尝试去联络漫游者45天。如果在那个时段里没有响应,漫游者的操控者将只会再用几个额外的月份来被动地听它。

Opportunity rover still MIA as dust settles on Mars

The rover has not checked in as controllers are getting ready to trigger contact.

JOHN TIMMER – 9/5/2018, 1:38 AM

One of the largest dust storms we’ve ever seen on Mars is finally winding down, raising hopes that the Opportunity rover will soon be able to obtain enough power to resume normal contact with Earth. At this point, there’s been no contact with the rover since June, and controllers are getting ready to attempt to get the rover to respond to commands sent over NASA’s Deep Space Network.

Unlike the larger Curiosity rover, Opportunity is solar-powered. And as the current dust storm gradually grew to encompass the entirety of Mars’ atmosphere, the sunlight that powered it gradually faded out. For several months, Opportunity hasn’t been getting enough power to maintain normal function, causing it to shift into a hibernation mode. Once it underwent this shift back in June, the rover has been waiting for enough power to start checking in with its operators here on Earth.

Based on the atmospheric conditions, those operators expect that power is likely to be sufficient in the very near future. There are a number of uncertainties regarding the rover’s condition that could mean it won’t be making contact as expected, however. The simplest possibility is that the storm deposited enough dust on the rover’s solar panels to keep them from reaching sufficient power levels. That could delay its return from hibernation until the last of the dust is out of the atmosphere, or it could even cause the power to stay low until local winds clean the panels off.

All that, of course, assumes everything’s working normally. There’s a good chance that Opportunity‘s power dropped so low that its on-board clock shut down. If that’s the case, then there’s no way of knowing when the rover will try to re-establish contact. That’s one of the reasons that operators are preparing to send it commands to establish contact rather than waiting for the rover to try to check in.

There’s also the chance that some power or communication hardware failed during the hibernation. Operators expect that the location the rover is in will stay warm enough that some small onboard heaters will keep components at or above the temperatures they’re rated for, so the issue is primarily that the components are old and the conditions have been harsh for the 14 years they’ve been on Mars.

NASA will continue attempts to contact the rover for 45 days after the conditions are good enough for it to generate sufficient power to respond. If there’s no response during that period, the rover’s controllers will just passively listen for it checking in for several additional months.

液态水“河”在火星上被揭示

Related image

研究人员已经在火星上发现了大量现存的液态水域的证据。

他们相信,这是一个坐落在这颗行星南极的冰冠底下的湖泊,它大概有20公里(12英里)宽。

以前的研究发现了在火星地表漂浮着的、断断续续的、液态水的可能迹象,但是这是当今在火星上的第一个持续出现的水域的迹象。

那些如被NASA好奇号探测器发现的河床显示,在过去,水在火星的地表上是存在的。

不过,后来这个星球的气候由于它薄薄的大气层已经变冷了,使大部分水封锁在冰里。

这个结果特别令人兴奋,因为科学家已经用了很长时间来寻找火星上现有的液态水的迹象,可是它们亦或没有寻找到液态水,亦或产生了不明确的发现。它也将会使那些正在研究地球以外生命的可能的人们感兴趣——虽然这个结果还没有提高寻找生命的堵住。它将会激起那些正在研究地外生命可能性的人们的兴趣 – 虽然它对寻找生命还没有真正的贡献(还没发挥作用)。

这个发现是通过使用欧洲航天机构的火星快捷轨道飞行器的雷达系统Marsis去完成的。

“它有可能不是一个非常大的湖泊。”来自意大利国家天体物理学机构的罗伯特·奥罗赛教授说,他领导这个研究。

Marsis不能够确定那层水有可能有多厚,但这个研究队估计它最小有1米。

“这真的称得上是一个水域。一个湖泊,而不是在地球特定的冰川上充溢在岩石和冰之间的融水”奥罗赛教授补充道。

火星上的水域是怎么被找到的呢?

诸如Marsis这样的雷达系统通过发出一个信号并且检查什么东西反射了回来,去检测这颗行星的地表和附近的次表层。

雷达上部持续的白色线条

在白线底下,研究人员在冰下面1.5公里处发现了不同寻常的东西。

“在浅蓝色中你可以看到从底部来的反射比从表层来的反射要强烈。对我们而言,这对水的存在来讲,是能够说明问题的迹象。”奥罗赛教授说道。

这对生命而言意味着什么?

现在来讲还没有确切的东西。

来自开放大学的马尼什·帕特尔博士解释道:“我们早已经知道,火星的地表对生命是不适于居住的,就如我们知道的一样。因此,现在在火星上寻找生命是在次表层。”

“这是我们不被有害的射线照到的地方。这里能够让我们得到足够的保护。这里的温度和压强上升到更有利的高度。最重要的是,这使得对生命来讲至关重要的液态水的存在成为可能。”

“跟踪水”这个原则是太空生物学的关键——太空生物学是对地球以外潜在的生命的研究。

所以,尽管这个调查发现说明水是现在就有的,它们没有证明任何更深入的东西。

“我们没有更加接近于真正的探测到生命,”帕特尔博士告诉BBC新闻。“但是这个调研结果所能做的,是给予我们在火星上寻找水的位置范围。这就像是一个宝藏地图——除了在这种情况下将会有大量在点上做X的记号。”

水的温度和化学性质也能对任何潜在的火星生物造成一定的困难。

为了在如此冷的条件下保持着液体的状态(研究团队估计在它接触上边的冰的地方温度有零下30摄氏度到零下10摄氏度)这里的水很有可能含有大量溶解进里面的盐。

“可信的是,这里的水有可能是极其寒冷的、浓缩的盐水。这对生命而言是很有挑战性的。”一位来自英国圣安德鲁斯的天体物理学家克莱尔博士的表兄解释说。

我们接下来要做什么?

虽然它的存在为那些对火星上过去或现在生命的可能性感兴趣的人们提供了令人激动的设想,这个湖泊的特征必须先通过进一步的研究来被核实。

“现在需要做的”来自开放大学的玛特·巴尔梅博士解释道,“是在其他地域重复这个测量出来的尺寸,用来寻找相似的信号,如果可能,为了使其他的解释方法被解释——可以指望——把一些解释方法排除掉。”

科学家们在之前已经宣布,他们在南极洲的沃斯托克湖被埋藏的深处里发现了细菌的生命,但是在火星上挖掘的确会促进并形成一个既耗资也耗时的工程。

“到达那里并且得到最终的证据去说明这的确是一个湖泊,这将不是一个简单的任务。”奥罗赛教授说道。

“它将会需要在那里飞行一个能够向1.5公里厚的冰里挖掘的机器人。这一定将会需要一些科技的发展,而此时此刻这是无法得到的。”

Researchers have found evidence of an existing body of liquid water on Mars.

What they believe to be a lake sits under the planet’s south polar ice cap, and is about 20km (12 miles) across.

Previous research found possible signs of intermittent liquid water flowing on the martian surface, but this is the first sign of a persistent body of water on the planet in the present day.

Lake beds like those explored by Nasa’s Curiosity rover show water was present on the surface of Mars in the past.

However, the planet’s climate has since cooled due to its thin atmosphere, leaving most of its water locked up in ice.

The result is exciting because scientists have long searched for signs of present-day liquid water on Mars, but these have come up empty or yielded ambiguous findings. It will also interest those studying the possibilities for life beyond Earth – though it does not yet raise the stakes in the search for biology.

The discovery was made using Marsis, a radar instrument on board the European Space Agency’s (Esa) Mars Express orbiter.

“It’s probably not a very large lake,” said Prof Roberto Orosei from the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics, who led the study.

Marsis wasn’t able to determine how thick the layer of water might be, but the research team estimate that it is a minimum of one metre.

“This really qualifies this as a body of water. A lake, not some kind of meltwater filling some space between rock and ice, as happens in certain glaciers on Earth,” Prof Orosei added.

How was it found?

Radar instruments like Marsis examine the surface and immediate subsurface of the planet by sending out a signal and examining what is bounced back.

The continuous white line at the top of the radar results above marks the beginning of the South Polar Layered Deposit; a filo pastry-like accumulation of water ice and dust.

Beneath this, researchers spotted something unusual 1.5km under the ice.

“In light blue you can see where the reflections from the bottom are stronger than surface reflection. This is something that is to us the telltale sign of the presence of water,” says Prof Orosei.

What does this mean for life?

Nothing definitive. Yet.

Dr Manish Patel from the Open University explained: “We have long since known that the surface of Mars is inhospitable to life as we know it, so the search for life on Mars is now in the subsurface.

“This is where we get sufficient protection from harmful radiation, and the pressure and temperature rise to more favourable levels. Most importantly, this allows liquid water, essential for life.”

This principle of following the water is key to astrobiology – the study of potential life beyond Earth.

So while the findings suggest water is present, they don’t confirm anything further.

“We are not closer to actually detecting life,” Dr Patel told BBC News, “but what this finding does is give us the location of where to look on Mars. It is like a treasure map – except in this case, there will be lots of ‘X’s marking the spots.”

The water’s temperature and chemistry could also pose a problem for any potential martian organisms.

In order to remain liquid in such cold conditions (the research team estimate between -10 and -30 Celsius where it meets the ice above), the water likely has a great many salts dissolved in it.

“It’s plausible that the water may be an extremely cold, concentrated brine, which would be pretty challenging for life,” explained Dr Claire Cousins, an astrobiologist from the University of St Andrews, UK.

What next?

While its existence provides a tantalising prospect for those interested in the possibility of past or present life on Mars, the lake’s characteristics must first be verified by further research.

“What needs to be done now,” explained Dr Matt Balme from the Open University, “is for the measurements to be repeated elsewhere to look for similar signals, and, if possible, for all other explanation to be examined and – hopefully – ruled out.

“Maybe this could even be the trigger for an ambitious new Mars mission to drill into this buried water-pocket – like has been done for sub-glacial lakes in Antarctica on Earth,” he added.

Scientists have previously claimed to find bacterial life in the buried depths of Antarctica’s Lake Vostok, but drilling on Mars would make for an ambitious project indeed.

“Getting there and acquiring the final evidence that this is indeed a lake will not be an easy task,” said Prof Orosei.

“It will require flying a robot there which is capable of drilling through 1.5km of ice. This will certainly require some technological developments that at the moment are not available.”